The Auckland Aces couldn’t last the day after a strong bowling effort left them with 351 runs to chase against the Central Stags.
Starting the day with the Stags at 58/3, the Aces dismissed previous innings’ century-maker Dane Cleaver for 9, and Matt McEwan grabbed Willem Ludick LBW for 5. At that stage the Stags were 69/5.
The Aces then took the foot off the throat. Christian Leopard made 37, and Doug Bracewell made 31.
Wicketkeeper Ben Horne, following up his six catches from the first innings took three more – the highest number of catches in a match for Auckland.
With CD dismissed for 174 by lunchtime, the Aces would have felt that they had a real opportunity to win the match – chasing 351 with five sessions to get the runs.
Jeet Raval started off well, speeding along to 40 runs, then playing patiently until he reached his half-century. Unfortunately his first four batting partners all perished in single figures.
Finn Allen came in and likewise started with a bang. Together with Raval they looked like a partnership that could have actually reached the total.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. Just before the tea break, Raval was caught behind off Seth Rance for 57, and the Aces went to tea at five down.
Allen batted together with Horne for his 50, but was then dismissed for 53.
Horne was joined by Matt McEwan, who was dismissed for 22 just before the end of scheduled play.
The glorious blue-sky day in Auckland easily allowed for the extra time past 6:30 once the ninth wicket fell.
In just two sessions, the Aces were all out for 199.
The Stags claimed the 20 point victory by 151 runs to reclaim their position at the top of the table.
Plunket Shield cricket now takes a break, as the Ford Trophy commences next Wednesday, the Aces taking on Canterbury at Eden Park.
Central Districts First Innings – 360
Auckland First Innings – 184
Central Districts Second Innings – 174
Auckland Second Innings – 199
Result: Central Districts win
Points: Auckland – 4 Central Districts – 20
Image Credit: Photosport